‘Red Riding Hood’ Concert Illustration by Olga Cuttell

Music experiences not only introduce children to the joys of classical music, but also contribute to their overall well-being. Multiple studies have shown that music education enhances creativity, encourages teamwork and communication skills, improves academic achievement, and boosts engagement in school.

“Music education is important because it develops self-expression and emotional intelligence,” says Alysha Bulmer, Education and Outreach Manager at the Calgary Philharmonic. “We want a society of people with a variety of perspectives informed by a variety of experiences — what better way to achieve this than through art?

In a typical Season, the Calgary Phil reaches thousands of students across Alberta through our education and community programs. Many of those students visit the Jack Singer Concert Hall to attend an education concert, or have a musician visit their school to give a presentation and answer questions. This Season, these valuable classical music experiences are offered online, with recorded education concerts and activity books, and virtual school visits. We’ve also added some free resources for teachers and parents to share with children in the classroom or at home, including a web series that introduces preschoolers and younger student to the orchestra, and pre-recorded lessons shared with schools in Calgary through an online portal.

“During the pandemic, we’ve been able to offer online resources for all teachers, whether they’re a music specialist or a generalist,” says Bulmer.

Here are some of the classical music experiences available at school and/or at home. For more information about our education and community programs, visit our Education page.

Education Concerts
Our new virtual education concerts and supporting materials for schools are designed to inspire students at different grade levels. Younger students will enjoy the story of Little Red Riding Hood told through Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in a new production by local musical storyteller Liza Scriggins, featuring illustrations by Olga Cuttell and narration by Julie Freedman Smith. Older students can explore the four movements of Mozart’s iconic Eine Kleine Nachtmusic.

An Orchestra Adventure Series
Children at home or school will also enjoy our free four-part online series, An Orchestra Adventure (with Maestro Karl and Friends). These 15-minute webisodes take kids on a fun musical journey through the four sections that make up a symphony orchestra: woodwinds, strings, brass, and percussion. Along the way, they encounter different instruments and some of the musicians who play them, as well as take a few side trips to discover interesting facts about music and famous composers.

Shifting online has allowed us to expand our PhilKids after-school program — founded by Calgary Phil supporter Judith Kilbourne, PhilKids has been running at Keeler Elementary since 2015, and this year we welcomed students from Falconridge School. PhilKids provides music lessons, Bucket Band ensemble, and music fundamentals classes to children who otherwise would not have access to such artistic programs. Teachers can also access pre-recorded lessons through a digital portal provided by their school board.

By Maureen McNamee
January 2021